Mark Yurkiw wows the Westport Library with his unique approach to art By Evi Tarshis

Photos contributed by Evi Tarshis '20

Mark Yurkiw has been bending the rules ever since he turned away from his college studies of astrogeophysics for the world of art. However, instead of completely abandoning science, Yurkiw defied all odds and created a career for himself that could incorporate both of his passions.

“My mission was to express all the interesting things that were going on in the world,” Yurkiw said. And that is exactly what he did. Yurkiw kick-started his career around 40 years ago when he opened a business in Manhattan that created sculptures for advertising agencies all over the world.

Pieces of Yirkiw's art featured in InkCT Magazine

Yurkiw recruited a staff of around a dozen artists who worked together to produce innovative art for businesses that were looking to express their ideas in unique ways. Using just motion, light and the absence of light, Yurkiw and his team created the renowned film “Chelsea Cinderella.” Projected on the storefront of a newly built retail office, Chelsea Cinderella told the story of a young woman who comes to New York, seeking to build a successful professional and personal life for herself. The film drew viewers in while also acting as a tool to bring the right shopkeepers to the most exciting parts of the city by subconsciously exposing them to the newly built space.

“Chelsea Cinderella is the magic that happens when art is applied to a purpose and uses technology and science to accomplish a goal,” Yurkiw said.

Clips from a video of "Chelsea Cinderella" projected for the audience to see

Before they knew it, people from all over the world were calling Yurkiw asking him to make similar productions.

“There was a point in time where we were making a project every single day of the working year,” Yurkiw said.

A painting of the solar powered lighthouse Yurkiw created for the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey

After 25 years of telling stories through art, Yurkiw decided to move away from the business world put his work towards something he loves more than anything: helping other people. With the help of two young Westport residents, Yurkiw created a completely solar-powered “Think 3D Lab” for a boy from the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He is also widely known for the iconic freezing, huddled Statue of Liberty image he created for the New York Cares Coat Drive.

“It’s amazing to see how one person’s work can affect so many different people,” Mary Green, Westport charity worker, said.

Recently Yurkiw opened a pop art gallery in downtown Westport that showcases his work, inspiring others to pursue their passions just as he did.

Staples student, Tess Jacobs ’20, was lucky enough to visit Yurkiw’s gallery and exhibit his work for herself.

“I encourage everyone who’s interested in science to visit the gallery,” Jacobs said. “Even if you're not, the creativity shown through Yurkiw’s art is definitely worth seeing.”